During Cannes 2022, four masterclasses will take place at the Buñuel and Debussy Theatres with directors, actresses and actors invited to talk about their work and their careers, during Rendez-vous open to all festival-goers.
In this year's program: Agnès Jaoui, Mads Mikkelsen, Javier Bardem and Alice Rohrwacher.
Thursday 26 May at 2:30 pm
In his 25-year career Mads Mikkelsen has built up a solid filmography and a long history with the Festival de Cannes. Born in Denmark, and originally a gymnast and dancer before becoming a stage actor, he made his film debut in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher trilogy. He established himself on the international scene with King Arthur (2004) and, especially, his role as the villain Le Chiffre in the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006). He also performed in Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding (2006), Jan Kounen’s Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2008) and Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair. He starred in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, for which he won the Best Actor Award at Cannes in 2012. He also starred in Arnaud des Pallières’ Michael Kohlhaas, presented in Competition in 2013. The following year, he returned to the Festival for a Midnight Screening with the Western The Salvation. Mikkelsen was part of the feature film jury in 2016, presided over by George Miller, before presenting Joe Penna’s Arctic as a Midnight Screening in 2017. In 2020, he collaborated once again with Thomas Vinterberg in Another Round, presented in Competition. In 2022, he features in the family action films Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Indiana Jones 5.
As What A Life by Scarlet Pleasure plays, the actor reflects on Another Round's closing scene, where the music is from.
The dancing scene was planned right from the beginning, and I didn't think we should keep it in. I felt it took us away from what mattered. The characters have just experienced this drama, and then they start dancing... Ultimately though, I was wrong. The scene is spectacular. It made me feel old, but it's spectacular. As we were coming out of Covid, we were worried people wouldn't like the film, but the opposite was true: audiences were so happy to see people celebrating life.
His earliest inspiration
I really admired two actors as a child: Bruce Lee and Buster Keaton. They're amazing actors and stuntmen who draw the audience into the story through their performances. They continue to inspire me hugely today, because they're aware of their physical condition. Now I don't need to change my body if I want to achieve a heavy, plodding walk, I know how to act it. That's why I find it fairly easy to take on films that are well written and well directed.
His advice to budding filmmakers
Everything you can experience with your friends, your family, your peers, is worth experiencing. These are the things that will go on to inspire you, and when that happens, grab your camera, focus on a story, and go for it! In 1980s Denmark, everything changed for film: an entire generation was leading the way. The new generation needs to do the same, and break away from the convention of always having to be led by older directors.
His relationship with the complex characters he has played
I'm not really afraid of taking on certain parts. I'm not intimidated, but I am aware of the challenges. Sometimes I say to myself: "This is perfect, but it's going to be so hard for me". You have to be honest with respect to the story, you sometimes have to be brave enough to say: "No, this is a part for somebody else".
His funny lack of familiarity with the blockbusters
I remember how at the time, my brother had spent two days waiting outside a cinema to get a ticket for the new Star Wars, and I couldn't understand why he was doing it. I spent my days watching Bruce Lee films, I had never seen Star Wars. When I was chosen for Casino Royale, it was the same thing. Everyone around me was obsessed, when I wasn't as into it! I think that's what freed me up to provide a fresh take on the James Bond saga, along with Daniel Craig.
His thoughts on streaming platforms and the threat to cinemas
The question we need to ask is: are platforms going to die out? No. So we need to find a compromise, we need to strike a balance. Film is a very young art form and we want it to stay the way we remember it, but that's not possible. It has to evolve and grow. There's room for both platforms and cinemas.
His experience of the Festival de Cannes
There's nothing quite like Cannes. The first time I went was in 1997 with Nicolas Winding Refn to present Pusher. We arrived in our coats because we'd heard there were mountains there! The Festival de Cannes is a fantastic adventure, it's like the World Cup of film. Despite all the partying and drinking, people still end up talking about films.
Thursday 26 May at 2:30 pm, Buñuel Theatre on the 5th floor of the Palais des Festivals.Tickets must be booked online.